August 16, 2018

New Data on Job Satisfaction, Occupations, Earnings, and Salaries for Those Earning an Advanced Degree in the Humanities

New findings/data released today by Humanities Indicators Project from the American Academy of Arts & Sciences. All sections include charts and downloadable data.

Ph.D.

Job Satisfaction of Humanities Ph.D. Recipients 

As of 2015, humanities PhD recipients had job satisfaction levels similar to their counterparts in several other major fields, but there was a gap of 11 percentage points between humanities PhDs employed in academic positions and those employed outside the academy.

Job Status of Humanities Ph.D.’s at Time of Graduation

In 2015, 56% of employed humanities PhDs were teaching at the postsecondary level as their principal occupations. In comparison, just 29% of employed doctoral degree recipients in all fields combined were in postsecondary teaching.

Occupations of Humanities Ph.D.’s

Among new PhD recipients in 2016, those in the humanities were the least likely to have a definite job or postdoctoral study commitment when they graduated (52%, as compared to 62% among all new PhDs). This marked the lowest level in at least two decades.

Earnings of Humanities Ph.D.’s

In 2015, college graduates with a PhD in the humanities had the lowest median earnings ($77,000) of graduates with doctorates in any of the major academic fields (excluding the arts). The median income for all doctoral degree recipients was $99,000.

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Source: Humanities Indicators (June 2018)

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Source: Humanities Indicators (June 2018)

Master’s Degree

Job Satisfaction of Humanities Master’s Degree Recipients

Approximately 88% of workers with a terminal master’s degree reported job satisfaction in 2015, which was somewhat greater than among business degree holders, but somewhat smaller—though within four percentage points—of the share for every other field.

When asked about their satisfaction with particular aspects of their jobs, terminal master’s degree recipients in the humanities were similar to terminal master’s degree holders in general on every measure except salary and benefits. In the case of three nontangible job benefits—location, opportunities for advancement, and contribution to society—recipients of terminal master’s degrees in the humanities were somewhat more likely to be satisfied than terminal master’s degree holders generally.

Earnings of Humanities Master’s Degree Recipients

Approximately 88% of workers with a terminal master’s degree reported job satisfaction in 2015, which was somewhat greater than among business degree holders, but somewhat smaller—though within four percentage points—of the share for every other field.

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Source: Humanities Indicators (June 2018)

Occupations of Master’s Degree Recipients in the Humanities

In 2015, 37.3% of employed humanities master’s degree recipients worked in teaching occupations, nearly twice the share of graduates from all fields combined. Outside of teaching, the largest share of humanities master’s degree recipients was found in management positions (11.1%).

Gary Price About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.

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